I’ve long had an opinion on this, and anyone that knows me will know what that is.
For those of you that don’t:
Women will never reach parity until men take time off to look after children.
As sad as it may be to see that in writing, and I’ve never written it before, I wholly believe it to be true. But why don’t men take time out?
In the UK we now have shared parental leave, but as some have it only 2% take it up. Is that a social issue? Is it not the ‘manly’ thing to do – to take time out and look after your children?
Why do we leave it to the women? Or do women really want this? When I suggested to my partner that we take shared parental leave it was met with a very firm “NO. I’ve carried this baby though 9 months of sickness, you’re not taking any of my 12 month reward” – I’m summarising here, but I think I got the context over.
It’s a very complex issue, and there are many levers here in action, which is maybe why we need more information on this issue. Will producing reports each year have as much impact as government policy?
Have a read of the article below – I’d be interested in your thoughts.
As Kleven sees it, there are two possible explanations — not necessarily mutually exclusive. One is an environmental explanation, where social norms make it harder for mothers to stay in the workforce. Under this explanation, moms may find that they aren’t offered certain opportunities — a job that requires significant travel or long hours, for example — because of the perception that they are the primary caregiver to a child.